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Darwin Correspondence Project

To John Fiske   3 November [1873]1

Down, | Beckenham, Kent.

Nov. 3d

My dear Sir

I am much obliged for your very kind letter.2 I am very glad of the nature of the work, on which you are employed.— I see so few people that I had not heard of your presence in London.—3 At the end of this week I shall be in London at my daughter’s house, & I will on the following week, propose your coming to luncheon, which is generally my best time, & I trust this may not be inconvenient to you.4

I did receive the Pop. Science Monthly & read your attack (& an attack it was with a vengeance, though properly admitting his great services) on Agassiz with great interest.5 I have not seen the N. American, & shall be very glad to see it, but I can order a copy for myself.6

Until we meet | yours very sincerely | Ch Darwin


The year is established by the relationship between this letter and the letter from John Fiske, 31 October 1873.
Fiske had come to London to complete his book Outlines of cosmic philosophy (Fiske 1874; see letter from John Fiske, 31 October 1873 and n. 2).
CD stayed with his eldest daughter, Henrietta Emma Litchfield, at 2 Bryanston Street, London, from 8 to 18 November 1873 (see ‘Journal’ (Appendix II)). The lunch took place on 13 November 1873 and is described in J. S. Clark 1917, 1: 478–9.
In his article ‘Agassiz and Darwinism’ (Fiske 1873b), Fiske praised Louis Agassiz for his contributions to geology, palaeontology, and systematic zoology, but attacked him for not having engaged sufficiently with CD’s theory of natural selection to warrant his reputation of having demolished it. There is a copy of Fiske 1873b in the Darwin Pamphlet Collection–CUL.
CD refers to ‘The progress from brute to man’ in the North American Review (Fiske 1873a).


Clark, John Spencer. 1917. The life and letters of John Fiske. 2 vols. Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Company.

Fiske, John. 1874. Outlines of cosmic philosophy: based on the doctrine of evolution, with criticisms on the positive philosophy. 2 vols. London: Macmillan and Co.


CD is glad to hear of nature of JF’s work;

proposes that JF call when CD comes to London.

Has read JF’s attack on Agassiz ["Agassiz and Darwinism"] in Popular Science Monthly [3 (1873): 692–705].

Letter details

Letter no.
Charles Robert Darwin
John Fiske
Sent from
Source of text
The Huntington Library (FK 1110-1112)
Physical description

Please cite as

Darwin Correspondence Project, “Letter no. 9127,” accessed on 17 January 2021,

Also published in The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, vol. 21